The basic falsehood and evil of egoism … in the fact that, ascribing to himself in all justice an absolute significance, he unjustly refuses to others this same significance.
The falsehood and evil of egoism by no means consist in the fact that the egoist values himself too highly, credits himself with absolute significance and infinite worth. In this he is correct, because every human subject, as an independent center of living powers, as a potentiality (possibility)
of infinite perfection, as a being capable in consciousness and in his life of accommodating absolute truth — every person, as such, possesses absolute significance and worth. In every human being there is something absolutely irreplaceable, and one cannot value oneself too highly. (In the words of the gospel: “What shall a man give in exchange for his soul?”
Failure to recognize one's own absolute significance is equivalent to a denial of human worth;
this is a basic error and the origin of all unbelief. If one is so faint-hearted that he is powerless even to believe in himself, how can he believe in anything else?
The basic falsehood and evil of egoism lie not in this absolute self-consciousness and self-evaluation of the subject, but in the fact that, ascribing to himself in all justice an absolute significance, he unjustly refuses to others this same significance. Recognizing himself as a center of life (which as a matter of fact he is), he relegates others to the circumference of his own being and leaves them only an external and relative value.
The falsehood and evil of egoism consist in the exclusive acknowledgment of absolute significance for oneself and in the denial of it for others. Reason shows us that this is unfounded and unjust, but simply by the facts love directly abrogates such an unjust relation, compelling us not by abstract consciousness, but by an internal emotion and the will of life to recognize for ourselves the absolute significance of another.